Young Connected Migrants: Remaking Europe from Below Through Encapsulation and Cosmopolitanisation

  • Koen Leurs


The figure of the young, digitally connected migrant embodies Europe’s Janus-faced character in an age when the market and technologies are celebrated for increasing speed and mobility within the EU internal market. The use of digital media by young migrants shows how they re-imagine Europe from below, as they stake out a living across nations and continents. Instead of seeing Europe as a homogeneous and stable container, Europe needs to be re-considered ‘as a fragmented and multi-sited societal context, which is co-produced by current patterns of mobility’ of migrants who negotiate new inequalities and hierarchies (Amelina and Vasilache 2014). A focus on how Europe is co-constituted through digital practices of migrants is timely because ‘little is known about the impact of new communication technologies on the lives of migrants in Europe or wanting to reach Europe’ (Ponzanesi and Leurs 2014). Furthermore, migrant youth seeking to find their place in Europe have to negotiate public suspicions resulting from recent claims about the failure of multiculturalism, anti-immigration sentiments, Islamophobia, fears over rape by refugees, and urban unrest and riots that are sweeping across Europe. This chapter unravels how digital practices allow migrant youth to stake out their positionalities vis-à-vis these discourses, both by turning towards members of their own communities living overseas (encapsulation) and by engaging in intercultural dialogue across cultural differences (cosmopolitanisation) (Christensen and Jansson 2014).


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Koen Leurs
    • 1
  1. 1.Graduate Gender Programme, Department of Media and Culture StudiesUtrecht UniversityUtrechtthe Netherlands

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